With just a dozen legislative session days remaining this calendar year, the state’s leading environmental and public interests organizations are calling on the Legislature to allow floor votes on the 2014 Super Bills, which address the most pressing environmental and public health issues facing New Yorkers, including climate change, fracking and toxic toys.
Advocates Urge Legislative Action on Environmental Super Bills
Albany – With just a dozen legislative session days remaining this calendar year, the state’s leading environmental and public interests organizations are calling on the Legislature to allow floor votes on the 2014 Super Bills, which address the most pressing environmental and public health issues facing New Yorkers, including climate change, fracking and toxic toys.
The 2014 Super Bills include:
- Child Safe Products Act (A6328/S4614)
- Fracking Moratorium and Health Impacts Assessment (A5424A/S4236A)
- Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act (A6558A/S6617A)
The Child Safe Products Act currently has broad bipartisan support with 37 Senate cosponsors; only 32 votes are needed for passage. It has already passed the Assembly.
In addition to three Super Bills, the environmental community is advancing a platform to refinance and reform toxic cleanup programs, including State Superfund, Brownfield Tax Credit Program, Brownfield Opportunity Areas program, and Environmental Restoration Program. Pending the introduction of a bill, the organizations are advocating the following toxic cleanup changes:
- Establish at least a ten-year, $1.2 billion bonding commitment for the State Superfund program.
- Extend brownfield tax credits for at least ten years without weakening cleanup standards, and reform the program to target sites that otherwise would not be cleaned up.
- Establish a reliable, long-term source of funding for both the Environmental Restoration Program and the Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) program.
Legislation that meets these goals will be awarded Super Bill Status.
Kathy Curtis, executive director of Clean and Healthy New York said, “It looks like 2014 may well be the year when New York joins the ranks of states that are taking action to protect their most treasured, vulnerable residents. With such overwhelming bipartisan support, there’s no reason why the Child Safe Products Act couldn’t pass right away. We urge lawmakers not to cave to chemical industry pressure, but instead do the right thing and give parents the information they need to choose only the safest, healthiest products for their kids.”
Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates NY said, “The Super Bills are as common-sense as they come for the times we’re in. The public wants action, legislators say they are committed to action, so it’s time that Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders come together in the remaining days of session to make good on their promise to protect New York’s environment and public health.”
Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group said, “There are tens of thousands of contaminated sites across New York, and the state’s programs for cleaning up these sites are all approaching their expiration dates. It is imperative that state lawmakers make a long-term commitment to these programs, so toxic waste cleanups across the state don’t grind to a halt.”
Child Safe Products Act
Children’s products routinely contain chemicals linked to health and developmental products, and parents lack basic information to protect their families. The Child Safe Products Act is a systemic approach to this problem. It identifies chemicals of high concern (based on toxicity), and deems a subset of these ‘priority chemicals.’ Children’s product makers will have to disclose which products contain priority chemicals, and phase the chemicals out of such items in New York by 2018.
Community Risk and Resiliency Act
To help New York better adapt to a changing climate, sea level rise projections and climate data should be integrated into state planning and permitting programs. The Community Risk Reduction Act will make such evaluation a required element for all state-permitted and funded development, not just rebuilding efforts after a catastrophic storm. This legislation applies such standards to projects proposed through a variety of state funding and permitting programs.
Fracking Moratorium and Health Impacts Assessment
This legislation will stop the Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing any permits to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations using high volume horizontal “fracking” methods for one year. In that time, a school of public health within the SUNY system must conduct a comprehensive health impact assessment and public review process to determine the repercussions of fracking on public health.